Seeing the Unseen with Melissa Wood of BEN



Melissa Wood Transcript

[00:00:00] Jessy: Hi everyone, and welcome to the WIIM podcast. Women In Influencer Marketing is a first of its kind exclusive networking group made up of inspirational women. This podcast is where we explore influencer marketing and get real about women in business. Find us wherever download podcasts, and of course, you can always find us at iamwiim.com. That’s iamwiim.com. Hello, hello everyone. And welcome back to the Women In Influencer Marketing Podcast. My name is Jesse Grossman and I’m your host and today’s episode is going to be pretty awesome. I just finished speaking with Melissa Wood of BEN, otherwise known as Branded Entertainment Network.

Um, we connected in person, just a couple months ago at VidCon, where we held like a really nice intimate dinner for our women members who were attending the conference and she came. And it’s it’s so hard at like an intimate dinner to connect with all the people that you wanna connect with. So she was someone I was trying to like, make my way around the table and chat with everyone as much as I could.

And, um, she’s someone that was like, I think we vibe, like, I, I think she’s really awesome and we just didn’t get to chat for long enough. So I asked her, I was like, couldn’t you, would you be interested in coming on the podcast? And she graciously accepted. And so we get to sort of continue our conversation.

On today’s episode, we chatted about a lot of different, interesting topics, including mom life, all the way to venture capital. So we really ran the gamut. Um, she is such an interesting woman. Again, she works at BEN, but she like works with gamers and in the lifestyle sector, um, she came from a company before BEN, uh, three back dot, which is all about gaming.

And I love meeting women who are working in spaces where there aren’t a lot of women and gaming is certainly one of those spaces. So, um, yeah, we’re chatting about so many different things, but before we get into this week’s episode, I also want to remind you guys that we have this incredible mentorship program as part of WIIM.

We sort of talked about mentorship a bit in this episode, which is why it’s, top of mind. But, um, literally while we were recording this episode, uh, because our members can tune in live to the recordings. We had one of those members who tune in live book a mentorship session. Um, with one of our mentors. And I was just saying like, oh, that’s so great.

You’re gonna love working with her. And, you know, just chit chatting with her. So if you’re unfamiliar, We have a mentorship program. It’s quite amazing if I do say so myself, um, we’ve hand selected some of the most incredibly brilliant women in the space, but all of them are also incredibly gracious with their time and really passionate, very passionate about mentoring.

So, um, you can go on our website. iamwiim.com/mentorship. And you can look through all of our mentors and not only can you just like see their name and you know, their company and book a session, but you can also watch a little intro video about each of them. I don’t know about you guys, but like, for me, I need to really vibe with someone I’m in the process now of hiring a bunch of like new people to work for WIIM and you can check all the boxes, but if we don’t vibe, I don’t wanna hire you. And you know, whether you’re you are hiring a coach or looking for a mentor or like a fricking therapist, don’t you wanna vibe don’t you need to vibe with that person. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me, but anyways, we have these really cool videos that all of our mentors shared and you can watch them on our website.

Just like a little get to know me video. I, I hoped that it would be helpful for everybody to get to know the mentors before they booked a session. Um, so yes, of course this is just for members only. Um, so just check out our website, if you wanna book a session or become a, a member. Um, anyways, I’m so excited for you to enjoy this week’s episode.

I think it’s a really, really good one. Um, if you’re. Sort of like in, in the vibe, in a head space, sort of like get inspired. This is the episode for you. So without further ado, thank you for listening and enjoy the episode.

So I am super pumped to have you on Melissa. And we have a few people tuning in already. Um, our members actually get to tune in live during these recordings, which is so fun. Um, so hi everyone, who’s tuning into the recording and hello to anyone new. Who’s listening to the podcast you’re in for quite a treat because we have Melissa Wood here from BEN, and she’s gonna be telling us.

We’re gonna be getting into a lot of different stuff. We were actually like chit chatting before we started recording today. And I was like, yeah, I don’t know. What do you wanna talk about? And she was like, oh, I don’t know, little things like this, that and the other, which are like great topic. So I’m not even gonna preview them.

We’re just gonna get into them as we go along. But before we do, how are you? How are you today?

[00:06:02] Melissa: Great. Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here to chat with you. For, like I mentioned earlier, all that you’ve done for our community and bringing us together. I, I just love it, like all the different, you know, voices and opinions coming together.

Really just empowering everyone to, you know, to show up and continue the fight that we’re fighting. It’s great. And, and I, thank you. It’s, it’s a lot of work. We were talking about being a creator, you know, that, that it is, um, , there are those who are, you know, genuinely made for that position. And then there are those like me who, who struggle.

I made a video and it took me like six hours to get edited, so.

[00:06:42] Jessy: Do you also, I also feel like, I wonder if like, there are those of us who are like high performing people like yourself. I’m sure. And like, you can just because you can do something doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exhaust you at the end. You is that maybe like, like how do you feel about content creation?

[00:07:02] Melissa: Yeah, it’s content creation. I feel like it is an art and, and a science, just putting the ideas together, right. Having that director type of mind and seeing how everything is coming, going to come together, uh, having that vision of what it’s gonna look like and how the audience is going to feel definitely takes that artistic mind.

And then to be able to market yourself, like, I feel like that’s the whole science behind things. So, you know, Putting all those efforts into, into things. It takes a lot. And, uh, you know, like I said, I tried it. I’m like, I need to work on my editing skills. work on the time that it takes me to edit, you know, a minute video and make it fun.

So. Just trying to get that perspective from the creator side, I, I think has been valuable.

[00:07:52] Jessy: It is really valuable. Um, and not enough people do it. So kudos to you for like really exploring that and like ha to be able to have empathy. Yeah. And to be able to just not be like, you know, oh yeah, that’ll take you like five minutes to edit, right. And they give you this look, you’re like, no, no, no. Like I can appreciate how long that’s gonna take you. And, you know, take that appropriate amount of time, right.

[00:08:15] Melissa: And, and to live with an authentic lens of being unfiltered, that is something special too, right. In addition, um, how you’re creating all your content, you know, for brand partnerships and what that, how long that takes to come together and having that empathy for creators and, you know, the media that we do, it takes a while, so, kudos.

[00:08:40] Jessy: Kudos and like kudos to you for having empathy. It’s like something that not enough people have anymore. I feel like everybody is like really focused on, I don’t know their own little bubbles. Like I have deadlines. I have people to pay. I have this, I have that. But the reality is if you are able, if you have the capacity to have some empathy, Then it’ll actually just help everybody out, but that’s neither here nor there.

I wanna chat. Like, I just wanna hear a little bit about like your background before we even get into this conversation. Like, I wanna hear like where you’re from, how did you grow up? And like, I wanna learn like, You know, with the, with your roots and the, and the beginnings of Melissa, like how did that get you to where you are today?

[00:09:32] Melissa: Yeah, that’s interesting. Um, I appreciate wanting to know about the background. Um, I grew up in Southern California, uh, born and raised and one of the rare Native Angelinos, but in the San world valley. So I don’t know if you necessarily consider that LA proper. But anyway, I was always interested in, you know, the background of TV and being behind the scenes.

I remember my first, I studied advertising in college and I remember my first advertising campaign that I remembered seeing across mediums. I saw it on TV. I heard it on the radio. Um, I saw it in a print ad and it was that first time it made the connection. And you know who the brand was, interestingly enough? It was Pepsi.

[00:10:21] Jessy: Wait, were we, are we talking like circa Britney Spears? What are

[00:10:25] Melissa: No, we’re talking like circa like 15 years old, you know, just going that is really interesting. How did these messages all sound have a similar vibe and how do I involve myself? So that’s kind of where it started. And then I went and studied advertising in school with a minor in art.

So I think I’ve always had that artistic background, um, right. Maybe where that that’s where the empathy stems from. Right. Cause art is so subjective and can be interpreted in many ways. So from there, I, I went into an internship way back in the day at time, Inc. And then from there, it just sort of, you know, evolved.

From that traditional digital media to, uh, legacy publishers, to entertainment companies, social platforms. And then I made the decision to, to jump to the other side and believe it or not, uh, coming from that side, there was a lot of, I guess, for lack of a better term, uh, down talk about influencer and I never really believed it.

I, I always thought it was so interest. and so in 2016, I made the jump to Wattpad and that was my first foray into influencer. I think at the time we weren’t even calling it influencer. Calling it like rising talent, custom content of anything, but that, uh, maybe influencer here and there, but it was, it was great.

I had a wonderful, team that I had worked with and still chat with to this day. And, you know, from there, I didn’t look back and made the switch into a, a talent agency company. And then from there, that’s where I got introduced to BEN. And they were one of my favorite influencer agencies that we worked with.

And I was like, okay, that’s, that’s where I’m gonna go next. So low and behold, you know, fast forward two and a half years out here managing brand partnerships on the west coast. Uh, for a lot of gaming tech, retail, you know, everything under the sun.

[00:12:29] Jessy: So can we go back just a second? Like I heard you mention very flippantly, like, oh yeah.

I also like, you know, I studied art. What kind of art did you study and like, do you still do any of it to this day? Yeah,

[00:12:47] Melissa: I, you know, I’m fascinated just by design and, you know, just different approaches to, um, a lot of interior design things. There wasn’t a particular emphasis in art that I had studied. It was more just like.

Intro to art, get enough credits and, and, you know, complete your minor. So it’s a lot of like general history, just intro to like drawing, painting, photography, digital video, anything under the sun, uh, S sculpturing there was one really interesting class that I still remember to this day. It was, you had to design everything based out of L shapes and how you can put together an entire home based upon.

Like the letter L and reconfigure that. So that was really interesting. 

[00:13:34] Jessy: Wait, that is interesting. I feel like that’s like, I don’t know that has the potential to be like a life lesson. like, how do you build your life out of the LS? I don’t know.

[00:13:46] Melissa: It was because I think to start out, it set, you could only, uh, you had to come up with rules of things. You could not. and then a whole thing do so it was very, I mean, I think I got like a, a B in the class, but , it was just very challenging. It was one of those ones that stuck out in your head where you look back, you know, a long time and you’re like, oh, wow. Okay. It did have an impact, right? Cuz there’s a lot of ways to, to solve a problem.

And you can approach, you know, how to build solutions in a lot of different ways and not one is necessarily correct. I think I kind of put that into my approach with like, you know, my team and my framework of things, of listening to different voices, opinions, experiences, and diverse opinions, just everything.

Like how do you build the most effective program? And I think there’s a lot of things that you can do in terms of activating that and, you know, seeing the unseen in situations, because a lot of what we do, you know, Jesse it’s, it’s ambiguous and building things with humans is, is really interesting and fun and complex, and it comes out beautiful.

And when we are empathetic and put the time in with others, like you can create some really, really masterful.

[00:15:10] Jessy: A hundred percent totally. Mm-hmm can that’s good.

[00:15:14] Melissa: It gets me excited.

[00:15:16] Jessy: I was gonna say, I could tell, and I wanna, I wanna talk more about that. So like seeing the unseen, I don’t know, are there any like recent examples that you can share where, you know, you might have seen the unseen or, you know, focused in an area where people weren’t and it proved.

Successful or at the very least just like it proved interesting to explore.

[00:15:42] Melissa: Yeah. I feel like seeing the unseen as a lot of times in people and being, and having enough life experiences and skills to recognize people’s strengths and or weaknesses. And how do you put that together to have them show up as their most authentic selves and be able to blossom in their own skillset?

You know, you do X, Y, and Z beautifully. How do you bring that out in someone? And I think it comes down to relationships and understanding that cadence of just human connection and relationships, uh, you know, how you work with different people and you can bring out different qualities within them. And I think when people are allowed to be themselves show up authentically, you can really create some.

Long lasting friendships and relationships. Um, as well as, you know, do amazing work for your partners, for your organization, for your home, for your family, your network of friends, just be really in tune with others. It’s taking that extra step in that time to understand what the person, you know, across the table or next to you is going through.

you know, how do you help them? How do you help build them to the next level? Right. Cause that’s what it’s all about. Don’t think?

[00:17:06] Jessy: I do. I do. I’m curious ‘cause you are also a mom, right? And you know, I think it’s interesting, like some people have jobs where they’re just sitting in a cubicle or a metaphorical cubicle these days.

And, you know, and, and like just doing their work and clocking in and clocking out. They don’t really deal with a lot of people. And then they go home and they have the capacity to really like, fully be present for their families, right. Mm-hmm. And then there’s those of us who work in influencer marketing that tend to just like it.

It can be a little manic at times, and you’re dealing with so many different types of people and so many personalities, and it’s not so perfected quite yet, even though we’re like, A decade plus into this industry. So what like real life struggles do you have in terms of juggling at all? And is there any advice that you would give to people listening?

[00:18:06] Melissa: Yeah, I think first maybe just what I do is just take a deep breath, right? Like let it set, let it go in. And then I prioritize. Okay. Like we can do hard. Um, one of my favorite P podcasts, uh, we can really do hard things and we can prioritize. And I think it also ties into mentorship and the ability to lean into folks who have different experiences or more experiences than us, and how do they manage their day.

So for me, it’s listening to, you know, different podcasts. How do you manage your time and also accepting the fact that it’s not gonna be perfect. It’s okay. The work life balance situation, it can happen at times. And then it’s just, you know, it’s completely all over the floor at others. I think accepting the, the fact that it can be either, you know, one side of the spectrum to the other and anywhere in between and knowing that at the end of the day, like, what do you want out of this?

Like, what is. What is your goal? Like what are you achieving with your family and your work and bringing it all together? You know, what are the key values that keep you going? Are you doing this for motivation? Um, you know, some other end goal, monetary friendship network. Um, is it a stepping stone? I think you really need to understand your current experience and then where do you wanna be?

And then what are the steps that you need to take in order to get. And that’s a process. And like I tell, you know, my kids, I I’m like learning is never linear and it’s okay to be up then down then flat then backwards. And then again, forward’s journey and everyone’s path looks different and I think understanding your own journey and that it’s gonna look different for.

And accepting that I think is key. So it’s a lot of like, pump me up motivation in the morning and you know, we got this, we could do hard things.

[00:20:17] Jessy: No, I, I love that. So like what pumps you up? Is it like good music? Is it like, are you a physical person? Like, do you go to the gym? Like, do you do yoga? Is it just sitting in silence and meditation? Everyone’s so different. You’re saying like, everyone learns differently. Like everyone gets pumped up differently. What is it for you?

[00:20:36] Melissa: Um, you know, I think it’s a combination of things. I, you know, it is exercise and focus to make sure that you are releasing that energy, that you can clear your mind and your plate for the next day.

Um, it’s communicating where you’re at mentally, right? Like it’s picking up the phone, figuratively speaking, or realistically speaking, and just having an honest conversation. I think the difference is being solution oriented and saying, I need to figure out a solution to this problem, or I want to have this problem continue knowing where you fall in those two situations.

you know, I, I think is a good understanding of where you’re at, you know, mentally. So it’s a lot of things I like to talk. I like to chat and interact with you. People and my friends and, um, colleagues. So, you know, you’ll find me chit chatting a lot. So just like we were talking about we’re like, we just need to. Stop some of our conversations while you’re ahead.

[00:21:40] Jessy: But do we? But do we? I dunno, sometimes they’re good. Sometimes like they’re being said for a reason, so I don’t know. We, so we just got a question in from one of our members who’s tuning in live. So I figured I would ask, get in real time. Um, and the question is, do you get to work with interior or, uh, slash art brands or creators in your day to day? We were talking about your background in art. And they’re curious about that in your work life today.

[00:22:09] Melissa: Yeah. So at then we work with a variety of creators. Um, you know, everyone from gaming to tech, to lifestyle, um, to moms and of course, interior design it’s actually, you know, it performs really well for us and we work with a variety of interior design creators.

So, yeah, I mean, it’s interesting because I’m on the other side, on the brand partnership side. So, you know, there’s a whole group of us, eh, making sure that these campaigns come to life. So when I see the content, um, and the creators that we’re, you know, recommending it’s, it’s always interesting. I’m like, oh, new person, new person to follow or I suggest I suggest different, uh, creators. I’m like, look at this person, they’re amazing.

[00:22:56] Jessy: It’s so interesting that you say that because we are actually sparked a conversation the other day on our social about something pretty similar, the concept that like, can we all stop working with the same people over and over? Like, can we all start like discovering new people?

There’s always gonna be quote unquote, new people in this space. And we don’t sort of wanna age ourselves out of it by becoming irrelevant because you’re not aware or exploring or working with the people who sometimes people who are, are new to the industry. Right. I think there’s two sides of it. And I’ll, I’ll ask you the pointed question in a sec, but like, I think there’s two sides of it because I do really find a lot of value in finding partners.

That are incredible to work with and then working with them over and over and rewarding. The fact that they’re professional, they’re creative. They listen, they, you know, do all the things that a partner does, but usually campaigns are multifaceted. And so you can like sprinkle in a few of those and then sprinkle in a few newbies and explore new people and give like new,

voices opportunities and give new, like new voices seats at the table and a chance. And so I feel like a Mo like most people, or at least the people that will like say it out loud, they’re like, yeah, girl, like I get that. I agree wholeheartedly. But then like, and, and even in the most innocuous situations, people would say yes to that, but then they’re like, but like real talk, where do I find these people?

Like, how do I discover cool, great new people to work with? And, you know, you work for a, a large, awesome company then, that I can imagine has a lot of resources to be able to like share information like that. And I don’t know, are there any tips and tricks that you could give to people listening today? If they wanna find and promote new or underrepresented voices, but simply don’t know where to look and find them.

[00:25:11] Melissa: Yeah at Ben, we, you know, there’s a stat floating around where we’ve given, you know, opportunities to creators their first brand experience. And it really goes back to the technology that we have internally, and we are willing to lift up the creators, right. Empower the creators to do what they do day in and day out as well as make it work for the brands.

So we are definitely on. On that path of finding those new creators. And the way that we do that is through our, a combination of our tech and our teams. So they use a variety of resources at their hand to be able to identify. Those types of creators and I’m not trying to plug in, but I think we do a really good job of, of finding those voices and different voices, whether it’s micro creators or, you know, are they mid-size or have we worked with them?

Do they not do brand deals? How can we get them to do a brand deal? You know, cuz you will find those, those creators who aren’t interested in that. Um, how do you convince them to do that? So it, it is through a team effort of really. You know, empowering the people to do what they’re skilled at. And that’s what I love about influencer is that you’ve got, you know, it’s unlike any other marketing channel that, you know, exists out there.

You’re dealing with many types of humans and, you know, you’re discovering new voices every single day. I think also having an open mind of who could potentially work and why like similar audiences, um, similar overlap in terms of what they’re interested in and their behavior really looking at that from, you know, that data side of things.

[00:26:52] Jessy: Totally. Um, I think that’s, you know, it’s really, you gotta, ultimately at the end of the day, like, find a great partner, but also be able to like substantiate that partner, um, and be able to, justify your decision. So I appreciate that you’re bringing sort of like the data into it as well, because you know, if you think about it, if it’s a newish person, someone you’ve never worked with, let’s say, and maybe like, like you said, maybe perhaps it’s their first brand partnership.

You want to be able to create like the, the way that you can support them. The. Is to create a successful brand partnership together. Um, and so you wanna make sure that like, this opportunity is also the right fit for them. Don’t just throw them into anyone that like might not be the best fit, like. Put all the ducks in a row to make sure that it’s gonna be successful for everybody create a case study of, of, of this, and like, explore that and create great things together. 

I also want to ask you a question. So you were, you mentioned briefly, you were like, reaching out to an influencer and perhaps they don’t either, they don’t really do brand deals or they’re not interested in this brand. And like, if, and how do you convince them to work with you? So. I don’t actually wanna get into that piece fit.

What I want would love to get into is like the other thing is that they’re doing to like make income to bring in income because I love the idea and I love the idea of an influencer who is like, hella business savvy. And who is, you know, has tons of revenue, streams, not just brand partnerships and you know, your day to day brand partnerships.

And you will never be lacking influencers who are like, yeah, Melissa let’s work together because brand partnerships are their bread and butter. But for the other ones, what are you seeing that they’re exploring? Because I, I love the idea of like female entrepreneurship. So many of the creators that we are working with happen to be female. Fantastic. Not all, of course. Like what types of other income streams are you seeing and what are they turning you down to do instead?

[00:29:18] Melissa: Um, well, luckily we have a pretty good secure rate. So , we, we don’t really encounter that too much, but I think what I am seeing is, you know, the ownership of the content and really taking charge of, you know, not only brand partnerships and, and that side of things, but right?

You have some of the things that have existed for a while. You have, you know, they’re controlling their March lines. They’re working with partners that are like end to end solutions, you know, from creation concept to design, to production, to shipping where they can. Really just streamline that whole, um, income or revenue source for them and really add to their brand.

Uh, I’ve also seen themselves like integrating into games and really whether it’s, you know, themselves as an avatar or they’re creating the game themselves. And I think that’s really interesting. It feels like an ownership where it’s, it’s not so beholden to maybe an algorithm or, you know, uh, seasonality, but it’s things that they can fully own and continue.

Uh, so it, I think there’s a lot of different and new things, uh, whether it’s like self-service platforms or, um, just creating better relationships and networking and understanding how to come up with like these big brand ambassadorships that are maybe subject to a one, one off that become, you know, part of a brand or that become really a mainstay of, you know, a part of their character too.

[00:30:49] Jessy: Yeah. I was listening to Hillary Kerr’s podcast the other day, and she had on, um, Iskra Lawrence, I believe is her last name.

[00:30:58] Melissa: Mm-hmm

[00:30:59] Jessy: Um, who is like this really great, like full-figured model. Um, she actually used to be represented by the agency that I used to work with. And she started her own company and I’m sure that’s why she’s making the podcast rounds, but the, that was, you know, interesting.

The most interesting thing about that interview was she said that she self-funded this company’s launch because she saved a million dollars cash in the bank and was able to, she, I, you know, I’m gonna misquote her. So like, you know, this is, this is the loose. Take it with a grain of salt, listen to the episode.

But, um, essentially she was saying, you know, you like, how do you get a seat at the table? And either somebody has to fund you and back you. Where you fund yourself. And, you know, most people do not have the means to be able to have a million dollars in the bank. And, you know, for someone her size, she’s gonna need a million dollars because she has so many followers to, you know, actually build the substantial thing to meet the demand.

It’s gonna take a lot of money to do so. I was really impressed and kind of like blown away that she was able to have that fortitude living in New York city. She was like, I lived in New York city and, you know, everybody else was like out drinking, partying, you know, living in these like beautiful Highrise apartments and like working their worry up slash spending more and more money on that.

She was, I was always living with a roommate and saving that money so that, you know, one day I could have the control of my destiny, my professional destiny, because I could launch what I wanted because I wasn’t reliant upon somebody funding me. I could fund myself. Now, I, I bring this up because like, it’s an incredible story.

It’s really interesting how realistic that is. I don’t think it is like, she is a model who, you know, would make $20,000 a day on a shoot, you know, and she was very successful in her own right. So like for her to save up a million dollars cash seems a bit more realistic than like you or I, you know,

[00:33:19] Melissa: Hashtag goals right there.

[00:33:20] Jessy: Hashtag goals, but she did it. So I don’t wanna discredit her. I mean, it’s really impressive, I guess, like, I don’t know. What are your thoughts on just like female entrepreneurship and, you know, being, we were talking a little bit about this before we were recording and I want, I would love to get more into it, you know? You know, whether you’re an influencer or just like you or I wanting to start your own thing.

Um, do you think that it can be done or do you think that there are a lot of, um, roadblocks in the way that just make it like unnecessarily hard for people?

[00:33:54] Melissa: I am an optimist. So that, that believes me to believe that it can be done, right. It can be done it. For me, I think it goes back to the mentorship and the visibility.

And encouraging the next generation and our girls to really understand what it takes and how to build a network, how to ask for the things that you want. And I think as women, I don’t think we are necessarily raised with that vision. And I think at its core, we can get there and we can demand the things that we are really good at and make them better for, you know, for all of us.

I think at its current state, it’s probably not as geared. I do think it’s getting better. You know, you, I think of the whole situation with the, the A 16 and the flow thing where I’m just like, oh gosh, you know, or they invested in that company. And it was just, you know, it’s sort of been wonky off the gate, but I do think that we can get there and require, you know, this is what we’re doing and have that visibility, right? And even just having these conversations and putting it out into the universe. That, this is what we wanna do. This is, you know, there’s so many women, you know, Jesse, just in your group who I’m imagining want to do the same thing, but how do they get there? What are the resources that they need to have?

Um, who are the people that they need to be talking to? Where does that information exist? Like how do you build that network? How do you listen from listen and learn from folks? Who’ve done it before you, how can you do it better? So just bringing the conversation to the table and, you know, bringing like-minded people together, I think is a good step.

And, um, you know, talking about the things that you wanna do, and then when you get there, what do you wanna do and how do you wanna do it better than everyone else? Like, what’s your, what’s your POB on why someone should invest in you? Right. I think that’s the second half of, of the conversation. Like how do you improve upon what we’re doing?

Right. There’s so many other existing. You know, platforms or services or contractors that are, you know, in our industry. Or whether it’s even not in this industry, whether it’s outside of this, you know, it’s ancillary or, you know, just related to influencer, um, making those connections and understanding, okay, what is that end goal?

How do I get there? Who do I need to talk to? There’s there’s a lot and we, I think we can do it.

[00:36:24] Jessy: I, I appreciate your, like your optimism and I think, and I, you know, for the right, I feel like I sound so skeptical for some reason. but like, I, I, I actually agree with you. I’m like, I appreciate your optimism.

No, I like actually like agree with you. I dunno. I’m coming across so skeptical.

[00:36:42] Melissa: No, I’m, I’m trying not to be like, what is that? That false positive or, or it’s like everyone. Everyone’s good. Everyone’s okay. You know, just trying to be real, but positive.

[00:36:53] Jessy: Real but positive. Yeah, totally. I, I like, and I, I, I, I sense that you are.

Um, but yeah, I mean, look like it’s, it’s, there’s like also isn’t there like a fine line between like optimism and just like, believing, like, I don’t know if they’re like the same. They’re definitely not the same thing, I guess, but just like believing in it, like there ha like this like idea of fortitude is they’re all sort of like interlaced, you know, I, I hear so many people like articulate that sort of the.

A pinnacle of being successful. If you’re an entrepreneur is being like VC backed. And for those of you who don’t know, VC venture capital backed like basically having a venture capital firm, like a firm that invests in people invest in you. And, I personally want to dispel that myth so hard. , you know, what’s the sign of success you end up like first step, you end up backing yourself and BEC and being self-funded.

You know what the real sign of success is like what Jacqueline Johnson is doing, which is like, she’s become the VC. Like she’s investing in other people now. And the many of like, I know I’ve been very, very fortunate to meet women VCs and they’re rare. And so I really mean that like been very fortunate enough to meet them and they’re hella smart and they have so much up against them, but they, you know, I’m really generalizing here, but at least the ones that I’ve met.

They have so much potential at their fingertips. That it’s so exciting. But to my point, my point is the following. Like, don’t let someone else be like, have to give you permission to do anything. Like if you wanna do it. You will make it happen. You will work your ass off. It’s not gonna be easy. If anyone tells you that being an entrepreneur is easy, like run in the opposite direction.

They’re lying to you. Bold faced lying to you, but if you want something bad enough, you just make it work. And the whole concept of VC is like that. Like, you know, either you wanna take it to the next level. And so to have that significant amount of, of injection of cash into your business. Like you just simply need help, like in order to do that.

But like nothing comes for free. Y’all like, if you are being VC back back, you’re giving them equity, usually in your company or something to that effect. And like who I could tell you stories about like what losing control of your own company can be like and can feel like, and it is not what you want.

So just like thinking about. What is meaningful to you and not just necessarily following what everybody else seems to be doing or the trends, and be a really powerful thing. Who do you look up to? Who’s like started a company or you know, who who’s done really great things in business that you’re like, They’re so impressive. And like, I would love to emulate what they’re doing. Is there anyone that comes to mind?

[00:40:08] Melissa: There is, I, you know, there’s a couple of people who have recently sold their companies into larger companies. I don’t know if you know who I’m talking about, but, um, following their career path, talking with them, um, and watching the merger and or sale of their company is really interesting.

Um, I’m thinking of like the village marketing folks. That company was really small, but really well connected and to the VC community. And, you know, what did they recently sold to, you know, a larger Wonderman Thompson. I think that was really great. Just seeing that, that strength that she’s been able to, you know, have for her team and the growth over there.

I think that was really great to see that. And that’s one that comes to mind. . There’s a lot more Jesse, but I don’t know for some reason, like maybe cuz it was somewhat recent, but that’s, you know,

[00:41:00] Jessy: That’s a really great, valuable one that I hope that people, um, are aware of. And everybody has different goals you were talking about earlier. How like everyone learns different, like everyone’s goals are different too. So first sad, like what, what does success mean to everybody means such different things. And that’s like another way that I, I hope that people. Follow their own paths and not try to necessarily emulate what other people are doing. Um, and I wanna know, I wanna know from you, like, what does success look like to you in your life and whether it’s professional personal, however you take that.

[00:41:37] Melissa: Yeah, that’s a good question. I feel like depending upon, you know, the day or the week, those things can look very different and I’m not trying to evade the question or, you know, be coy.

But I think there’s different times where success to me means different things. Um, sometimes it means, um, security. Sometimes it means the ability to build. Sometimes it means, you know, uh, the room to build my own schedule, right. Or to allow me to organize my day in a certain way. Um, it means the relationships around me, the people that I work with, you know, 10 hours a day, those people that we’re we’re together with.

I think that’s, what’s successful and then seeing their outcomes and their growth, um, right. Having an impact on, on our industry and the day to day things that we do. Success is also like being able to get up and get everyone out the door on time. Uh, lunch is packed and, you know, back to my computer at 8:30.

Um, that’s success, uh, finding out how my family did during the day. Um, what were their challenges? You know, how did they challenge themselves? Did they put themselves in an uncomfortable position and how did they handle it? I, I think that a lot of it stems back to curiosity and learning. Learning about myself, learning about others.

And if I can clearly understand that for the day or the week, then that’s success. And I think it vacillates in between a lot of those things, because it does look so different. And I think that’s what makes life interesting is the different things that come our way. And how do you turn that into positives. And how do you see the world, you know, through different lenses and what is your, your daily goals? Did you achieve them, right? Is it a checklist? It ranges so greatly for me. What about you Jessy? Like what is, what is your daily success metrics look like?

[00:43:46] Jessy: You know, it’s funny cuz when you were just saying that, like it ranges every single day, it completely relates that mm-hmm and I also think like for me, I struggle with measuring how successful? I feel a little bit too much in like the granular nitty gritty, you know, like did I accomplish my checklist for the day, but that’s sort of like my personality. I’m like very like process oriented and like task oriented. And I don’t know, I feel the most successful. I think when I have like the freedom to think more broadly, because to me, like it’s a struggle to think a little bit more broadly, or like to, to give myself the capacity to think more broadly, I get like, very anxious about like accomplishing all the things that need to get done in a day.

So I feel like if I have the space to be able to think bigger, I’m like, oh, like I’m in a good position. I’m in a good space, and like that certainly makes me feel more successful, but like, I don’t know. I also have, you know, a stepdaughter, like, so I also have kids and that’s like just a whole other chapter in life that like really changes a human being in a million different ways, so.

[00:45:08] Melissa: Absolutely.

[00:45:09] Jessy: You know, like beyond work. I’ve never felt so successful then when she achieves things and when she feels accomplished and successful and learns something, or you really feel something like click within her. So I’m also like very fortunate that like, we both have kids. So, you know, being able to like have your own kids or have step kid, or have like just kids in your life or whatever it is, or even just people that you mentor, you know, it could just be people that you’re able to influence. We’re gonna come full circle here about influence right? Like.

[00:45:53] Melissa: Well, even just like helping them work through things right. Because they’re, you know, they’re seeing challenges for the very first time. And how do they work through. So much, what they see is, is, you know, fresh eyes and you’re like, okay, you might have gone through it you a million times, but how do you help them?

And when you see them come out on the other side, right. That is a true feeling of like you said success. And you’re like, okay. Right, the goal is to have them learn what you learned and have them take half the time in which you had to learn. Does that make sense?

[00:46:30] Jessy: Oh my gosh.

[00:46:32] Melissa: Like I only want them to have it, you know, just one year and then you can learn all these other things and, and be so much more advanced and well rounded than I ever was at your age.

So that’s the goal, right. Is just evolution and making them a better person than then. Then we are when then we were kids

[00:46:53] Jessy: a hundred percent. It’s like, I, yes, like making them. Leaps and bounds in front of where you were at their age and just, you know, learning, having them learn from your mistakes and, and hopefully they could do, they could like do life better, right? Cause you’re there being able to help them and support them and like, oh my God. Talk about feeling. It’s successful. It’s success. Sure. But it’s just like rewarding. Oh my God. It’s it’s on another level.

[00:47:22] Melissa: We should do a whole podcast episode on, on that, on kids and influence.

[00:47:27] Jessy: Uh, kids and influence. Oh my God. Like how do influence a child? That

[00:47:33] Melissa: Influence a child.

[00:47:34] Jessy: Those are lessons. Those are hardcore lessons that, you know, you were talking about earlier. Um, you know, like L

[00:47:44] Melissa: L shapes, like the L shaped. I know. So random. I’ll, I’ll have to send you pictures of that class. I think. The contraption that I built. Oh my gosh.

[00:47:53] Jessy: No, but I, I, I don’t think it’s like, I don’t think it’s random.

I, there’s a reason that you are remembering it. There’s a reason that you’re bring it up right now. And I, I related to like having kids, like, there’s just certain moments in, in life where, you know, you’re like the scenes misleading as if it’s just this very simple thing, but I feel as if it’s teaching me this like giant life lesson that I’m actually gonna be taking into many other aspects of my life.

[00:48:20] Melissa: Absolutely. You’re right. Mm-hmm

[00:48:22] Jessy: Totally, so kids and L shapes. There’s something there. there’s something there.

[00:48:28] Melissa: Sorry. Sorry guys. That’s. Pretty, um, uninteresting there, but.

[00:48:34] Jessy: No way we had people like chiming in like saying I love this chat, you know, so people are, are enjoying the conversation again, like our members get to tune in live. So thank you guys for tuning in live. And, um, also thank you guys for, you know, tuning into the podcast. So I have a feeling. That people who are listening, or if they’re watching on YouTube and Spotify, would they just love to get in touch with you and, you know, chat more. I know you’re obviously around, you know, the win community and everything, but like, what’s the best way for people to get in touch with you?

[00:49:13] Melissa: Um, you know, you can reach out on LinkedIn, you can hit me up on discord. Um, Facebook I’m in the Facebook group as well. I’m not in the slack group. I’ve, I’ve got too many, you know, applications going but yeah, I think, you know, LinkedIn or discord or anything like that, like definitely have those running all the time. And of course, whim and of course, whim on my, on my computer and I’m like looking and chiming in and, you know, commenting or liking lots of the posts.

[00:49:45] Jessy: Perfect. We will tag those, um, in the show notes and maybe the best way is just to like tag you in the Facebook group. Um, if they wanna, if they wanna touch base with you, but I’m so appreciative of us being able to like, finish the conversation that we started back in, you know, a couple months ago at VidCon like at this nice dinner in LA. And I was like, oh, I really like Melissa. I was like, I like, I was like, oh, our conversation was cut short. So I’m just grateful.

[00:50:18] Melissa: It was. And thank you so much for reconnecting us. That was wonderful.

[00:50:22] Jessy: I’m grateful that you took me up on it. So thank you for coming on today. Thank you guys so much to those of you who are tuning in and we will see you next week everyone. Take care.

If you enjoyed this episode, we gotta have you back check out our website for more ways to get involved, including all the information you need about joining our collective. You can check out all the information at iamwiim.com. Leave us to review a rating. But the most important thing that we can ask you to do is to share this podcast. 

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Tune in next week.


Founder of Women in Influencer Marketing and CEO of Tribe Monday

Jessy Grossman is a long time entrepreneur in the digital media space. She’s passionate about supporting women in business and being at the forefront of innovation. She’s been quoted in Forbes and was awarded a spot in the “Influencer Top 50” by Talking Influence. In less than two years she created one of the fastest growing talent agencies in the country. Amidst unprecedented growth, she sold the multi-six-figure agency and pivoted to focus on her long-time passion project: Women in Influencer Marketing (better known as WIIM). Founded in 2017, today WIIM is the premiere professional organization for those who work with influencers. The community offers networking and new business opportunities, career services, continuous education and more. Jessy also does consulting, advising and influencer marketing recruiting with her company Tribe Monday. You can find inspiring stories and more about Jessy on the WIIM Podcast. Check out iamwiim.com and tribemonday.com for more information.

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